• Elements
  • Designs
  • Design topics
  • Element topics
  • Boards

House fly pupa used by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Entomologist Christopher (Chris) Geden, PhD., who studies the effect of artificial sweeteners and fungal pathogens on them at the ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, in Gainesville, FL, on February 24, 2021.

Geden works to find chemical insecticide alternatives to manage house fly populations. Here he is studying the use of fungal pathogens combined with artificial sweeteners. The sweetener attracts the flies and is lethal to them as well. Unlike sugar, the sweetener does not give them energy, just indigestion resulting in death by dehydration. At the same time, the fly is inoculated with fungal spores of a pathogen that will also kill them, and their cadavers will produce a new crop of spores that are spread by contact. Neither the sweetener nor the pathogen can harm humans.

House and stable flies are major pests of animal agriculture in the US and throughout the world. Management of these flies using insecticides can be problematic because the flies have developed resistance to many of the available products. The growing market for organic products creates additional demands for alternatives to chemical insecticides. Although their mode of action is not known, the artificial sweeteners xylitol and erythritol are toxic to adult flies of several species. Scientists at Northern Illinois University and ARS evaluated the effect of these sweeteners on the larvae of house flies and stable flies. These sweeteners appear to have potential as an inexpensive way to control flies without using conventional insecticides. Caption derived from ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publication/?seqNo115=356216

USDA Media by Lance Cheung. Original public domain image from Flickr

More
Public DomainFree CCO U.S. Government image for Personal and Business use

View CC0 License

House fly pupa used by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Entomologist Christopher (Chris) Geden, PhD., who studies the effect of artificial sweeteners and fungal pathogens on them at the ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, in Gainesville, FL, on February 24, 2021.

More